A piece of street art that’s only executed with modest skill, but is site specific or is placed somewhere special, can be better than a piece that’s absolutely technically flawless but unoriginal in placement or at home on any other wall in any other city. With this piece, ABOVE has practiced absolutely perfect placement and really got me smiling, even the work could probably be replicated with equal impressiveness on walls around the world. Although, ABOVE does say it took him 7 months of searching to find the perfect spot. Check out why he had to be so particular by watching the video…
Last year while Above was in Cape Town, South Africa, he completed a project that he has titled Ubuntu, after the South African philosophy that says that to be human is to be part of a community. With this project, Above reminds us that even relatively simple interventions in public space can be extremely powerful if done right. Okay, this one did require that Above get up on a lift for the installation, but the piece was made by local children out of old car tires. The tires went from trash to community artwork. Now, every child who helped Above has a stake in that sculpture, which serves as a physical reminder of the stake they each have in their community. Plus, it got a lot of kids painting, which is always good.
Here’s a video of the project:
You may notice that the video does not include a shot of the finished piece, but it kind of doesn’t matter what the piece looks like. What matters is that it was built by a community.
Speaking of protest art, some revolutionary graffiti and street art was recently painted over in Egypt and that’s been causing quite a stir, with Egypt’s prime minister backing the artists and even calling for more revolutionary graffiti.
What do people think about this work from ABOVE pointing out the 24% unemployment in Spain? A mural that simply points out such a depressing fact without any obvious rage or anything behind it seems to me like it’s doing practically the opposite of what murals should do, but maybe it’s a good way of making that fact more known. Thoughts?
ABOVE recently released this time lapse video regarding the extreme popularity of social media. It’s a bit like having a mirror put between yourself and your computer screen. I don’t know though, I’m pretty sure he’s trying to say that you should tweet this or post this on Facebook so all your “friends” can ‘like’ it.
Above sent over some info about his latest mural, a huge wall of text in Johannesburg at the diamond-trading hub Jewel City. Here’s how Above explains the piece:
Africa has had a devastating history of blood diamond wars. Blood diamond refers to a diamond mined in a war zone and then sold to finance an invading army’s war efforts, usually in Africa where more than two-thirds of the worlds diamonds are extracted. This site specific social / political word play was painted on the exterior wall of Johannesburg’s largest diamond trader Jewel City. Jewel City is a six-block mega-precinct that serves as a base for some 300 diamond traders as well as South Africa’s Diamond Board and State Traders Association. Jewel City is the largest diamond exporter in the southern hemisphere with over R7-Billion worth of Diamonds being exported every year.
I was able to get away with this diamond wall heist because I told the owners I would paint in big letters “Diamonds are a woman’s best friend” on the exterior of their building. The owners loved the idea and all quickly agreed. The next day I had started painting but what the owners didn’t know is that I lied to them and was hijacking their wall. Like any premeditated robbery, situations are not what they seem and shit can flip from best friends to worst enemies in a few moments.
I assume the owners were too busy trading diamonds inside the mega centre they never took the time to come out and see I was painting a controversial word play about the diamond trade and how it’s fueled so much bloodshed in wars making it one of man’s worst enemies.
It’s great to see Above doing text work. Definitely what I prefer over his stenciling. What Goes Up was painted at Origin Wines in Cape Town, South Africa.
Speaking of Above, Fecal Face have just posted a preview of the special edition of his book Passport. I’ve also got one of these giant books leaning on my wall. Hopefully that will be a good enough reminder that I need to bring my passport to the airport on Friday even though I’m not flying internationally. Hopefully.
Anyway, here’s a video of What Goes Up getting painted…
Well, the internet went a bit crazy this week, but it looks like we’re winning. Thank you to anyone who noticed that Vandalog was offline on Wednesday in protest of SOPA and PIPA and took the time to contact their representatives to voice objections to the bills. But enough about politics. This is an art blog.